DFR Telecoms Diary


Hopes for the coming year :

1) Finally get the Asterisk computer up and running on the internet and get some home phones connected to the internal phone system.

2) Complete the replacement of the PA system at Norchard.

3) Fit the ex-PA rack in the office to enable a 50 volt supply to be available for maintenance purposes.

4) Introduce a recorded preventative maintenance system for all apparatus to bring us into compliance with the latest IRSE Guidelines.

5) Update the safety and risk features of all lineside apparatus.

6) Reintroduce the training programme for the benefit of our new colleagues and for revision for our established staff.

7) Design and build a level 456 relay set to give Asterisk and Lydney Junction access at Parkend.

8) Design and start the build of a 22 line exchange at Lydney Junction. Get one final selector and associated junction into use to prove the concept.

January 2012

Two members tickets for a Mince Pie Special

2 January : We decided to start the year with an easy visit to the railway, so Jean and I became visitors for the day and rode the Mince Pie Special. An excellent run in the sun and exactly to time. Welcome to 2012.

Corroded Circuit Board from De-humidifier

4 January : Ray and Peter got on with the cabling to the PA equipment and by the end of the day had it virtually complete. Next week we start on testing and then jumpering. I updated our computer and then borrowed the railway's video projector to see how it worked should we use it for training. Excellent. It is definitely worth my organising the training material into Powerpoint slides. Martin and I then had a go at a faulty dehumidifier from the running set. In the end after taking it almost completely to pieces we found that the underside of a printed circuit board was subject to water damage and corrosion. A little ironic, a dehumidifier that was destroyed by high humidity! The item is to go to the dump. We have also been asked to test the fire alarm regularly. We did a couple of tests, the first did not work well, but after that all was OK. We think a dirty bank contact on the PA linefinder was the problem. In future, tests will be made on the first Wednesday in the month.

7 January : No one went to the DFR today so I got down to getting some traing material turned into PowerPoint presentations. The first seven training modules are available on this website.

11 January : Tony and Rick had a go at a reported fault on lights in our hallway. However it was RWT, (right when tested). Ray and myself started to test the new equipment for the PA but quickly got bogged down in wiring errors between the rack and the IDF. Rick and Ray spent the rest of the day sorting it out. Tony fitted a mains socket in our office for use by Peter and his Norstar which he is installing simply for use as a tester for wiped up phones.

One of our very tame and friendly railway robins

14 January : One of our very friendly railway robins. (pic by Paul Seward).

Peter had come in to get his Norstar unit wired to the desk for use as a telephone tester.

The bypass crossing phoneThe bypass crossing phone

The varistor is the little blue component

Pics of crossing equipment by Paul Seward. Paul had found that the phone from the bypass crossing was a simple CB type and did not have the modification that the documentation covered. It was faulty though so he had sorted out another CB phone for the crossing. Paul, Ian and I went to the Junction to install the phone and to fit a varistor in the main unit. It worked. Nice to get the job completed though S and T are still to provide another CB phone for the other bypass island post.

Paul went off home. Peter, Ian and I met Jean for lunch at Kaplan's. During the afternoon, Ian and I got on with testing the new PA equipment. We found the fused battery supplies reversed and a wire whisker shorting on the back of the relay set jack. After giving the jacks a good look over we made excellent progress in testing the set up. We got so far as getting some output from the exchange room speaker. This leaves us in good shape for starting the change over to the new PA next Wednesday.

18 January : Martin and Tony had a good day. They shifted a power socket in the office while Paul installed a large blackboard for training purposes. They also did PAT testing at short notice and changed out one the large lights over the yard. Rick and Peter went to Parkend to shift a D phone in the ground frame hut so that the token machine could be installed. They also checked that we could get into the meter cabinet at the bypass crossing now that the lock has been changed. Ray and I spent an entire day shifting one PA access phone in the main building. Probably we would have got the sack at BT for such poor performance. In the end we had to recable the phone via the loft. This got Rick removing all the tools we had in boxes in the loft so that he could make up some maintenance kits. Quite a busy day. We should now be in a position to rapidly start changing over circuits to the new PA equipment.

Then Michael Portillo was on the DFR auto coach on TV during the evening.

21 January : Ian and Paul spent the morning checking the CAT5 cables around the site and changing out the switching hub for an improved one. Then they made calls over the net between the Asterisk and a home ATA, monitoring the data traffic and finally getting calls made between the internal phones and a soft phone at Ian's house. They must be getting close to a resolution of our Asterisk problem. I made a start on changing over the access tele lines to the new PA but was stopped on the first one due to a fault on the relay set. In the end it looks as though the audio switching relays mounted on a strip board have a contact somewhere in the board's soldering. I will have to take the set home so that I can inspect the board with a good magnifier.

23 January : I took the relay board to pieces to find a metal hair shorting two veroboard strips under the relay bodies. I rebuilt the relays onto plain veroboard. This ended up much tidier and fault free. I took the set back to Norchard to test. It seemed fine.

25 January : We started the day with a heated discussion about the latest requirements to reveal health status to the railway's Medical Officer. This left several questions regarding the need for the information, the seeming requirement to provide a medical history starting from the day you were born, the confidentiality of the information if it is given etc, most of which were answered to some extent by enquiries made during the day. We finally decided it was time to do some work only to find that our stores had been incorrectly locked by the sharing group. We had to cut a link in the chain to gain access. Martin and Tony proceeded with some electrical work. Peter did odd jobs to help Rick and Ray who continued to change over telephone circuits from the old to the new PA equipment. We now have all the phones tested and working very well. The speech quality from the phones to the PA seems to be excellent. A pleasing result.

26 January : Jean and I went to check the relative volumes of the direct access PA phones and those which access via 595. We found that 595 calls were much louder. I brought the relay set home and made a small modification so that the 595 volume could be adjusted easily.

28 January : Paul, Ian and I went to the Junction to pickup a uniselector mounting. Ian mounted the five uniselectors and two strip connections needed for the exchange at the Junction. He is taking them home to clean up and complete the multiple wiring etc. Paul and I refitted the PA access relay set and tested it. We now have the volumes from all the connected telephones pretty well identical. Paul also checked a CAT5 cable that was giving problems last week. It seems to test OK? I went on to the extra-ordinary general meeting at Whitecroft which agreed the reorganisation of the board and management of the railway. Out of this we will become attached to S and T. Seems sensible.

February 2012

1 February : We started our day with an explanation of the new company's structure using our new blackboard facility. We went a little further and allocated out Officer in Charge duties covering electrical maintenance and our three exchange areas. The idea of preparing proper works files for new work was adopted. Martin and Tony went to the wholesaler's for replacement items and spent the day repairing portable apparatus. Rick and Peter found a corrosion fault in DP3A (where else?). Ray and I changed over the speakers and the fire alarm to the new system. We had a little problem with high frequency feedback on the very short line access phone which we solved by the addition of a little damping to the microphone circuit. We still have the main mics and the music channel to changeover next week. When we left we could listen to Lynne calling Bob to the shop very clearly indeed, in fact we are a bit surprised that the telephones connected to the system work so well. A rather satisfactory day.

The work has been allocated as follows :

John - Telecom Manager (forward planning, works files, records, training, safety procedures, overall responsibility, tea and cakes)
Martin - Officer in charge, electrical maintenance
Rick - Officer in charge, Norchard exchange area
Ray - Officer in charge, Parkend exchange area
Ian and Paul both - Officer in charge, Lydney Junction exchange area
Tony and Peter - General technicians to assist as required.

Officers in charge will generally keep an oversight of their area, ensure that maintenance is completed, have a good knowledge of the equipment and records and that tool kits and maintenance stores are available at their exchanges.

Peter has offered to sort and maintain a selection of customer apparatus(ie telephones and associated items) as the stores backup.

All staff will undertake all duties as and when necessary to get the work done.

4 February : Our office was so cold that the kettle was just a lump of ice. We managed a cuppa eventually. I discussed the new board arrangements with Ian and Paul. Then we went to Parkend to check that the 456 relay set we are to build will actually fit the rack position.. All OK. We gave the equipment a bit of a hammering but all was well except that the contact voltmeter gave us a high volts alarm. We think the cold weather must have reduced the resistance in the circuit to give the high reading. Back at Norchard, Paul got on with giving the Asterisk a speaking clock, now working on 444. Ian and I tried to get the shop microphone working on the new PA. The switching works properly but the circuit has a quite high hum level. We spent some time trying to locate the problem but in the end gave up as the snow had turned the site quite white. Something odd is going on, but then microphone circuits are very sensitive to pick up.

The Mid Hants U class Maunsell Mogul

5 February : Jean and I went to see Chris Hall on the Mid Hants Railway. He has given us some valuable stores which will assist mainly in altering Parkend exchange so that it can ultimately have access to the proposed Lydney junction exchange. Thanks Chris. Being brought up on the Southern, I felt I had to picture 31806, Maunsell's U class Mogul, waiting to leave Alresford with its train of Southern green carriages. Lovely.

8 February : Martin and Tony went to the wholesaler's to collect outstanding electrical stores, Tony drilled mounting holes in the cabinets proposed for lineside phones at Upper Forge and Tuft's Bridge. Bob can now get on and paint them. Tony also started to catalogue electrical stores. On the telecom side we decided to adopt plan B as we had little faith that we could solve the hum problem on the microphones today. Rick and Peter recovered the unused PA access phone from the waiting room and got it working in the station master's office. Then they fitted a PA press button in the shop office so that the shop could make announcements via 595. I made a permanent modification on the access relay set to overcome the high frequency feedback on short lines. We also changed over the music channel and got the levels adjusted. The railway can now make satisfactory PA announcements from all previous locations.

11 February : Paul and I got on and recovered the old PA access relay sets and the wiring from them and the cabling from the PA rack to the frame. This leaves the jumpering very much simplified. We recovered the power feeds to the lamps at the microphone positions as the lamps no longer signify whether or not the PA is on. We disconnected all the control wiring to the microphone points and found that the hum disappeared and that the mikes made a good quality connection to the new amplifier. We are now pretty sure that the 24 volt supply must have a high mains ripple on its output. We will find a choke and high value capacitor next week to see if some additional smoothing will help. The old PA rack can now be dismantled and perhaps sold on eBay.

17 February : Martin and I were called in as there was no electricity feed to the sidings area. We were quite unable to find the fault before getting hold of Richard the contract electrician for the site. He told us of the fuse lurking in the corner of the shop store. It was blown and we were not surpised as it was only rated at twenty amps. Naturally we did not have a spare so we went to the wholesaler's in Cinderford for replacements. They had none so it was on to Gloucester where we managed to find the spare. Overall it took two of us, four and a half hours each, to replace a fuse. We need a diagram of what cables feed where at Norchard as this particular fuse was not where one would expect it.

18 February : I was in my own so I just fitted a choke and two large smoothing capacitors to the 24 volt supply for the PA. That seems to have eliminated any mains ripple entirely.

22 February : Rick and Ray went off to Parkend to repair a non ringing telephone, the bell coil was dis. Peter altered our office phone to a wall type and recovered the PA press button facility. Martin looked at the non functioning lights in the ladies and the non working workshop water heater. Both required the contractor's touch and so he was advised of the need for the work. I was harried about the electrical jobs on the go, so rather than resign, I had a go at the mike in the shop. I got it going without any hum leaving just the Station Master's mike to be reconnected next weekend. Not our best day.

25 February : Ian spent the day stripping down the old PA rack which we have decided to scrap. Paul and I had a go at getting the station master's mike to work. There was a problem with the DP being terminated incorrectly followed by the lack of an earth to the mike position. Eventually the penny dropped and I had a look in the loft to find that the mike cable had originally gone directly to the PA rack and had been cut off when the rack was closed down and the end was loitering on top of the cable racking. Ah well, now we know how to proceed on Wednesday.

26 February : I picked up the PETS phones at the Junction signal box, repacked them and took them to Norchard for return to the manufacturer. We expect to get ordinary CB signal post phones in their place.

29 February : The main and standby amplifiersThe Audio Switching and Telephone Access Relay Sets

Ray, Peter and I got the station master's mike working so that the PA is now complete. We even labelled up all the equipment. The pictures show the new amplifiers and the newly built equipment that connects microphones and telephones to the amps.

Martin and Tony changed a light fitting in the shop. Ray and Peter started on the tidying up of the exchange at Norchard now that the current work is finished. Later Ray and Peter sorted out a faulty auto auto relay set that would not release, it had a sticky CD relay armature. At the same time the exchange had a little mad spell, it does this occasionally. However they caught the offending line circuit and traced the trouble to carriage and wagon. Their phone had dicey switch hooks and when they closed their door, the phone jiggled and the exchange was called intermittently. It's nice to get rid of an intermittent fault.

March 2012

8 March : Ray and Martin walked the track from Whitecroft to Norchard and made notes of the telecom's cable locations as they went. The dreaded flail is due to be used next week and we want the operators to avoid any cable on the surface.

10 March : Paul and Ian went through the caboosh and retrieved the spare components from the old PA, photographed them and stacked everything up neatly out of the way in the office. They temporarily reassembled the rack in the exchange to photograph it too. The plan is to offer the lot around various telecoms/railway heritage mailing lists on a "donations welcome, pick it up by the end of March or it goes to the tip" basis, so we won't throw any of it out just yet! They also managed to fit one of the old PA monitoring panels in the office so that we can check the level of the PA in comfort.This is the link to Paul's PA disposals page? Disposals

21 March : Before the day started, our internal phone rang. It was Paul calling from home. He seems to have cracked the problems with the Asterisk and it's ATAs. He has used an old BT Voyager router as an ATA. We were tickled pink with the speech quality. Martin and Tony spent a somewhat wasted afternoon taking a duff welder to pieces for the scrap, only to find that the windings were aluminium rather than copper. Rick and Peter got the Signal Post Telephone at the abutment installed and working. Ray and I repaired a clock broken in the workshop and got it going again. We then went to Whitecroft and Parkend to check on the situation there. Whitecroft needs a phone somewhere but no one will say where, so we will put it in a cabinet outside and extend it in when some one decides. Bob Bramwell will now lay the necessary duct across the station gateway. Ray is taking over as Officer in charge of Parkend, so we worked our way through the equipment in the exchange to give Ray a better idea of what's what. The rats have been back chewing our cable at Norchard. Lynne will get the rat catcher in again.

23 March : The paper on future growth has been updated considerably to include most of our current proposals. The details of the PA equipment have been added to this site

24 March : Ian, Paul and I fitted an additional SPT at the bypass crossing, that job is now complete. We also tested and labelled up the additional SPT at the abutment north of the hi-level platform.

26 March : The paper on the Fire Warning System has been updated on this website.

28 March : Martin, Rick, Ray and I spent the day tidying the caboosh. We threw a fair bit of gear away and at the end of the day, Ray and I took the debris to the dump.

31 March : Ian and Paul wired and jumpered in the two outgoing relay sets moved from Parkend. Peter and I sorted cable and jointing sleeves in the caboosh so that we have made rather more space. Peter continued to sort out customer equipment.

April 2012

Ian and Paul at Avoncroft Swapmeet looking at Ian Jolly's goodies

1 April : We went to Avoncroft for the THG Swapmeet. Not as many tables as usual but we found quite a few useful items. Ian and Paul were there as well. A lot of familiar faces with whom to chat.

4 April : A very cold, wet miserable day. Ray and I checked that the duct laid for the Whitecroft station phone was satisfactory. Rick and Ray tested level 6 to the auto auto relay set moved into Norchard from Parkend. They concluded that the testing battery at 250 ohms was too high a resistance for a UAX13, it should be 150 ohms for reliable testing. I have brought the set home to modify. We then cleared up and tidied the exchange. The old PA rack is in the skip. Pater carried on with sorting "sub's app" and testing and wiping up the phones we keep finding. I had a migraine attack, lots of lights flashing in my vision so I was not a great help. Martin was called to find the electrical mains off on platform 1. The cafe had to close early. We could not find the fault as we did not have a drawing for the mains layout in that area. We called in Richard, the electrical contractor, and he had to resort to testing with a megger to try to get to the root of the problem. It is thought to be in a water heater in the cafe. It has been isolated and we must now see if the problem has really gone away. We need to have a good check of the heater but ran out of time.

11 April : Only Ray and I attended. We had both been ill, Martin is currently ill as well. We tidied our office so that it could be used as a booking office for Thomas this weekend. Then we went to the Junction to look at the concentrator as we had an alarm extended from there. The ringer fuse appeared to have given up the struggle. We replaced a yellow fuse with a red fuse and hope that will last the course. We have a plea from S and T regarding the box to box D phone circuit not working. We checked that it was faulty but didn't feel up to going through the mods that the S and T group have recently made to the circuit. We went home for lunch but later I took the units from the old PA to the dump.

18 April : Peter and I had a look at the D phone circuit between the signal boxes and found the Norchard button contacts dirty and perhaps a little out of adjustment. When we left we were working OK to Lydney Junction. Martin and Ray sorted out the non working lights along the workshop, just blown bulbs. Peter and I were called to repair the bypass crossing start push as it had been vandalised. We repaired the break but the push button needs a proper rewire as the cable is beginning to perish. Ray and Peter went off to Parkend to jumper a new line for Whitecroft station as we have a date in late May for the official opening. Martin and I cleaned the floor in Norchard exchange. What an improvement.

21 April : Ian and Paul provided the duct and cable from DP1L at Whitecroft across to the new building so that it will be ready for terminating. They also decommissioned the Parkend master clock to make it ready to be moved to Norchard when work on rebuilding the clocks start.

22 April : Jean and I visited the Bodmin and Wenford Railway for their Southern gala. While waiting for the train we spoke to Tom Howe who had installed the signal box. He showed us round. A very neat and tidy job.

Bodmin General Signal BoxTom Howe, of Bodmin's S&T

We then took the train to Boscarne Junction and back followed by the trip to Bodmin Parkway and return. We had prairie 5552 on our train but there were four other engines in steam at Bodmin and all were used during the day, There was 24 from the Isle of Wight, 30120 the T9, 30587 the Beattie Well Tank and a big 280 GW tank. We did a final trip to Bodmin Parkway again behind 5552 later in the day.

30120, Drummond's 440 T9 Class Greyhound, beautiful!

30120, Drummond's 440 T9 Class Greyhound, beautiful!

Adams Isle of Wight O2 class 044 number 24 Calbourne

Adams Isle of Wight O2 class 044 number 24 Calbourne

24 April : I went to meet Colin Gardiner and Craig Street of Network Rail at Norchard where they shot a segment of a DVD being made for NR.

Colin Gardiner providing the commentary for the DVD!Craig Street getting a close up of a pulsing A relay

This segment was about earlier telecoms apparatus and was a talking head shot plus lots of close ups of selectors working and calls being set up on the 10+50.

Whilst there, Rick came in to list the apparatus in the exchange for his maintenance schedules and Ray called in on his way to Parkend where he was going to tidy and clean.

25 April : It rained most of the day. We were stuck with Rick and Ray sorting out maintenance kits for Norchard and Parkend. Martin had a go at a couple of faulty vacuum cleaners. Peter got on with telephone wipe up, we are getting a stock of quite nice teles now. I looked at the signal post in the museum with a thought that they could be operated from a simple exchange relay set instead of the signalling gear in the rather wet outside cabinet. It looks a good possibility. Later we visited Whitecroft en masse to see what was needed. We have located an external cabinet for Bob H to paint for us and cable access to the building looks simple.

28 April : Paul, Ian and I sorted out what was needed for Whitecroft and then went to the station to fit the phones. I had to go to Light Fantastic to get additional fixing bolts before we could bolt the external cabinet to the fence. In the end it looked quite neat but needs Bob H to finish the paint job. We had no dial tone in DP1L so I left Ian and Paul cabling the installation and went to chase the dial tone from Parkend. I found the pair not through in DP1E and also some incorrect cable termination. We must go back and sort that. With dial tone available we tested the phones to find that the external wall phone had a faulty dial and the internal phone had faulty switch hooks. By then we had run out of time and were a bit fed with the rain and decided to go home.

May 2012

2 May : Rick, Ray and Peter were in. They spoke to Ned at Parkend to ascertain his problem with hearing the phone ring. After deliberation it was decided to fit an extn bell 80d outside the staff room. A suitable bell has been found to be fitted next week by Ray and Peter. Ned said the job was not urgent. At Whitecroft the outside phone in the box had its dial changed by Ray; the internal extn was repaired and refitted by Peter; temporary labels fitted, tested and working ok. Bob Hawker appeared during lunch and presented us with an object which had apparently been blown down on Sunday. It protects the back end of the large horn PA outside the workshop at Norchard. After some debate Peter made a repair and Ray and Rick refitted it to the horn. Peter has taken a template to make a new one. It seems to be necessary to weatherproof the end of this PA horn.

5 May : Ian installed a WAP and surveyed the coverage. Paul provided sip-extension 490 in the exchange. Peter and Ian went to Whitecroft and installed the dial labels. Then they recovered the Parkend master clock. In the afternoon, Ian wall-mounted the master clock whilst Paul tinkered with the asterisk.

9 May : Martin and Tony fitted a heater in the station master's office. Ray and Peter provided an extension bell on the Parkend telephone. Rick went on sorting out Norchard exchange. It is looking rather good now. I found out how to change a local first into an incoming junction first. We will need extra incoming firsts for connecting the 45670 junction from Parkend and the two junctions from Lydney signal box.

12 May : Ian and Paul got the additional master clock fixed properly to the wall at Norchard and connected to a temporary relay set and clock. At least it is swinging but needs considerable maintenance work on it to get it right. We proved the wireless access point (WAP) to be working and got our laptop connected to the net via it. I went to Parkend to survey for the fitting of the 45670 relay set. We then investigated altering the 10+50 power arrangements so that we can dodge the blowing fuse problem. We are going to tap our main battery to provide a 24 volt supply and fit a converter ringing no 7 for the ringing supply.

16 May : Only Martin and Peter were in. They had a day chasing problems. They had to find a way through the CAT5 network for Trevor to get a connection for a computer. They also found that the connection recently made to the wireless access point had been yanked out of the socket to break both plug and socket. It is now working again but needs attention. They also found the mains plug to the Forester had been yanked hard and the wires pulled out of the plug. They repaired it. Who are these people? They finished securing the cable to the abutment. For a little light relief they were able to inspect a fleet of visiting Bugattis.

The 45670 relay set being tested on the bench!

18 May : I have been building the Parkend auto-auto relay set with inputs for five levels at home. Here it is virtually complete and being tested on the bench.

The armature with no pips that caused the fault!

19 May : Peter and I worked to get the 45670 relay set tested. We did have one strange fault that gave us a bit of head scratching. In the end we found that a relay armature did not have any lifting pin insulators and so there was a contact between the lever pins on each pile. This gave a short between two quite separate parts of the circuit. After changing the armature, things went well and the set performed as expected. I also cleaned off the VMBs on the incoming selectors on rack A2 and strapped one of them in readiness to become the incoming first from Parkend.

21 May : The diagrams for the 45670 Multi Level Input Auto-Auto Relay Set have been added to the website.

23 May : Martin and Peter changed a tube in the museum and then went off to Whitecroft to investigate a noisy phone. They broke off the key in the platform cabinet and had to go back after lunch to turn the ticket office extension into a DEL. We hope that S and T can get into the platform cabinet. There was nothing wrong except for the junction hum which we have never tracked down but assume to be due to the use of the mains earths for our exchanges. Ray and I checked the 45670 relay set in Norchard exchange to ensure that it was working well. It was. We also walked the cable route to the abutment and taped the two points where our furry enemies have been cable chewing. After lunch Ray and I took the relay set to Parkend and completed a survey for the installation job. We also recovered the standby battery as it is bulging and promising to shed its acid on the floor. Back at base we had another cuppa and then loaded my car with the scrap cable kindly donated by S and T. It will be sold tomorrow along with the faulty batteries.

24 May : I went to the railway to have a chat with Lynne about the source of the electrical supply at the Town Station. Afterwards I went to the station to trace the main cable back to a utility room in the adjoining Review building. The Review staff let me look into the room where I found a slave meter dated Dec 2005 feeding current to the station area. At least I could read the meter and report back to Lynne what I had found. I went on to sell our scrap at Bendall's. A nice little earner for our fund. Peter came in to check the phone at Whitecroft again as it is the official opening tomorrow. Ray came in to set up the clock we have moved from Parkend. Now we have to let it run for several weeks and get the pendulum set just right. For a non working day, we seem to be rather keen!

25 May : I spent the morning in the exchange moving the ring back circuit from level 7 to level 9. That will clear it out of the way of anybody at Parkend dialling 7 accidentally and getting the junction caught up on the ring back circuit. Eventually the ring back circuit will be incorporated into an engineering services relay set accessed from level 1. I also made a start on converting group selectors 8 on the two racks to incoming selectors to cater for the Lydney Junction Signal Box exchange.

The multi input level auto auto relay set in its position at Parkend

30 May : Rick and Ray did some maintenance in Norchard exchange chasing a couple of linefinder lock outs. Then Rick went on to weather proof DP3A with a new felt roof. Ray and I recovered the phone cabinet with the faulty lock at Whitecroft and went on to Parkend to start on the cabling for the 45670 relay set. We need to go back to finish and start testing the circuit. The ring back relay sets have been moved from level 7 to level 9 at both exchanges to remove the possibility of the new junction becoming locked up to the ring back. Martin and Tony got on with PAT testing.

June 2012

1 June : I went to Parkend to complete the 45670 relay set cabling. As this went so well I changed over the second Norchard junction to the relay set and went on to Norchard to shift the junction from an incoming final to an incoming first selector. I returned to Parkend to test the arrangement to find it working very well. Most pleasing. The first junction from Parkend to Norchard now serves only Norchard calls as it is trunked directly from level 5 at Parkend to an incoming final at Norchard. At present virtually all calls out of Parkend will be dealt with by this simple arrangement. The second junction now accepts calls from levels 4, 5, 6, 7 and 0 and repeats all the dialled digits to a first selector at Norchard. This gives Parkend customers access to all services that will be provided to Norchard customers. Today, this simply means that Parkend customers can access the asterisk exchange and its customers and services.

The circuit shows a higher hum level than the other Norchard - Parkend junctions. I expect this is due to the large 4 microfarad capacitors in the relay set transmission bridge. We can live with it for now but somewhen we ought to do a serious investigation to find the cause. It's probably due to our use of the mains earth at both exchanges. However spikes into the ground instead seem only too likely to go straight through a pipe or cable.

Line Circuits for Lydney Signal Box Exchange under construction

5 June : At home I am constructing line circuits for our proposed exchange at Lydney Signal Box.

6 June : Rick got on with converting local firsts into incoming firsts at Norchard. Peter and Martin found things to do. Ray and I went to Parkend to convert junction one outgoing to Norchard to a transformer bridge in the auto auto relay set. It completely got rid of the circuit hum. It has to be our way forward. Whilst testing though, we had trouble with wrong numbers only to find that the modified relay set was fine but that we had two dicey telephones at Parkend. Changing the phones cleared up our problems. Fingers crossed!. However should anyone dig a trench near our exchanges we feel that we should stick an earth wire in it and clear the original trouble.

12 June : Ray went to Parkend and updated the records and fitted new labels on equipment, and also proved beyond doubt that extn 301 in the exchange is getting wrong numbers. Removed the phone.

13 June : Rick, Martin, Ray and Peter attended. Martin and Ray changed a starter in a non working light outside the shop. Rick and Ray tested the fire alarm and everything seemed OK. Norchard extn 501 in shop had a sticky dial, tele case refitted. Norchard signal box reported PA not working.Ray and Rick attended and after giving the signalman the third degree we realised it was mis-op. PA tested OK.
Peter, Ray and Rick went to Whitecroft Station to survey work required. After some discussion, we thought it might be best if we re-sited the metal box slightly to the left, take the ug cable straight into the box, make it the main tele and re-jig the cable to the extn tele inside the station. We all then went to Parkend, to check extn 303. Peter and Ray eventually cleared the fault on the original tele. Dirty contacts on the dial. While we were in the exch, I noticed fresh wood dust on the portable line tester and on looking closer saw 7 grub type insects crawling on the woodwork. We removed this piece of wood and brought it back in a black plastic bag for further analysis and discussion on future action.

20 June : Rick and Ray spent the day refitting the cabinet and phones at Whitecroft. It just leaves me to take the photo and complete the risk assessment page. Martin and I discussed the fluorescent fittings in the hall outside the shop and agreed that they were well past their prime and needed replacement before they shed covers onto the public. We bought one fitting and ordered a second but decided that we will have to come in on a non running day to actually change out the fittings. We had a discussion with the Chairman about the electricity supply at the Town station. We went to the station to recheck the cabling as far as possible and to update our meter reading. 30 units used in four weeks.

23 June : Paul went in to have yet another go at the Asterisk to try to improve its reliability. He came up with some software improvements which we will find out later if they work. Today was group lunch at John's house for the members and partners. We had eleven turn up for an excellent meal prepared by Jean.

25 June : The website has been updated with new details for the transformer type bridges being fitted to Norchard O/G Junction Relay Set and to Parkend Bothway Junction Relay Set.

New lights fitted in main hallway

26 June : Martin and I went in on a non running day to change out two fluorescent fittings in the main hallway. The fittings from Light Fantastic were excellent and very easy to install. We must bear this in mind should we need to change out more of them. We were finished by lunch time.

However, in the evening Jean and I went off to see David and Tom Lyall in Cheltenham. They are about to become Chelsea Pensioners and were clearing the decks. I received some telecoms gear for the railway, some of it very interesting and quite unfamiliar. All of it should be useful, thanks, David.

27 June : We spent an hour going through the items given to us by David Lyall. The Herbert and Proctor that came with it was especially prized. Rick and Ray changed over the outgoing Parkend junctions to the transformer bridge relay sets and this completely cleared the hum from the circuits. Most satisfactory. This just leaves the 45670 set at Parkend to be modified when I can lay my hands on a small transformer able to fit into a single relay space. Martin and Tony ran the cable from the museum signal light to the proposed relay set position in the exchange. Martin and I also went to switch off the CCTV equipment at the Town Station. While there we found that the adjoining building site seems to have a temporary supply from the Town station. More digging into the situation is now required. Peter came in later, sorted the telephone items from David Lyall and carried on with telephone renovations.

New Clock Pulse relay set on the bench being constructed

28 June : The replacement clock pulse control relay set has now had its initial design completed and the components have been found and mounted in a relay can. The set can now have the plate wiring done before installation at Norchard.

Visiting 5521 Prairie in use for the steam gala

30 June : Ian, Paul and I tidied a bit during the morning and then went for an early lunch at the Fountain with Jean. Afterwards we recovered most of the aerial cable between Middle Forge and the Town Crossing and got it back to Norchard and safely stored away. It was a busy afternoon livened by the frequent passage of trains from the Steam Gala being held.

July 2012

Scrap cable waiting to be delivered to the scrap yard

2 July : The scrap aerial cable was sold to Bendall's. A welcome addition to the funds.

4 July : Rick terminated the museum signal post cable on the relay set terminations. Martin did a bit of PAT testing. Peter had a go at wipe of another phone. I did very little but sort the keys we hold. Rick and I left after lunch.

7 July 2012 : Paul came in for an hour or so to check on the Asterisk. It's still not doing things correctly. Ian and Peter spent the day cabling up the new clock relay set. There is still quite a bit of wiring to be done to get things ticking. I made up a strip of keys, cleaned off tags and cleared a fault on a selector. Ian, Peter, Jean and I went to lunch at Kaplan's. Pretty good, particularly for those having all-day breakfast. Jean and I then had to go to the bypass crossing to get an electricity meter reading. There will be no one at work next Saturday.

8 July : Jean and I went to the Mid Hants Railway to collect five line transformers donated by Chris Hall. We should now be able to put a transformer bridge into all our junction relay sets, existing and proposed, thereby avoiding all our hum problems. Thanks again, Chris.

11 July : Ray and Peter looked at control set lock ups in the UAX13 and reached the conclusion that some serious testing of all line circuits to all linefinders is required to chase down the basic reason for the lockups that occur at Norchard. To be undertaken when Rick is also available. Martin and I met Gary Wildin at the Town Station and between us we recovered the temporary electrical supplies to the adjacent building site. We also recovered the CCTV apparatus and cameras, though they are to be reprovided on the adjacent building. The site is now very much simplified from an electrical supply point of view. After a late lunch Ray and Peter went off to fix the Whitecroft internal phone in hopefully its final position. Martin and I met a possible recruit, Charles Bristow. We had a chat and he accompanied us to Parkend where we changed out a fluorescent tube and disconnected a lighting fitting that was long past its best. Welcome, Charles, should you decide to join our group.

14 July : The phone rang early. It was Lynne with the museum door alarm sounding in the background. I went to sort the alarm but found the museum fire doors not locking correctly. In trying to open one door, the other fell to pieces leaving a big gap! I had trouble trying to stop laughing. In the end Mike Brimble turned up to fit temporary doors whilst he orders a proper set. The doors were completely rotten and so is much of the frame. Whilst we dealt with this problem we heard that a door had been kicked in at the Junction and some windows broken. At least the alarm system is doing its job.

16 July : Another call from Lynne. This time there was no electricity at the Town Station. Oops! We forgot to turn the mains back on last Wednesday when we did the recoveries.

18 July : Ray and Peter fitted and connected the signal post display and also fitted and connected the 6 volt AC power unit. Now it's up to me to finish building the relay set. Martin and Charles spent the day on PAT testing and showing Charles the electrical records.

21 July : Paul, Ian and I recovered the last of the aerial cable and got it sold at Bendall's. We came back to Norchard to sort the pile of scrap left to us by Chris Bull and get it ready to go to the yard. We had lunch at home. After lunch Ian and I mounted the uniselectors at Lydney Junction Signal Box for the new exchange. When we got back to Norchard we sorted out what wiring is left to get the new clock ticking and pulsing.

22 July : The diagrams for the proposed 22 line exchange at Lydney Signal Box are now sufficiently advanced to add to this website here. Please note that these are proposals only and that modifications during development and installation are very likely. At present the uniselectors involved have been wired, including the multiple and installed at the Box. The line circuits have been assembled and are currently being wired. Progress is being made on this installation.

25 July : Rick and Ray refitted the door to cabinet 5D at Upper Forge and provided a lock. This involved quite a walk along the line on a very hot day. Martin and Ray went to see Ned at Parkend who perhaps was reporting electrical difficulty. He wasn't! But he might want a light fitting installed, perhaps next Wednesday. As it was too hot to do a lot, time was spent in the office.

28 July : Ian and Paul were in to finish cabling the new clock control relay set. The new installation is now ticking well and awaits the new master clock to settle down and keep time before we swing the station clocks over to the new setup.

August 2012

Electric Signal Light in DFR Museum Display Board attached to Signal Post Relay Set driving Museum Signal Post

1 August : Rick and I finished installing and commissioning the signal light controller and display in the museum. It's rather good.
Martin and Tony went off to Parkend to install an extra light fitting in the goods shed. They also checked the state of the electrical supply to the ground frame hut. Still physically insecure and cannot be switched on. Peter and Charles put up an extra shelf in the office so that our books are no longer trying to fall off the shelves. Charles has decided to attempt to interconnect the two token machines in the museum.

3 August : The Museum Signal Post diagrams and write up are now available on this website.

6 August : Ray went into the railway to adjust the new master clock. Ian and I got the main battery tapped at 24 volts and connected out via a main fuse to an external subsidiary fuse. This will provide the correct voltage for our museum 10+50 and allow the recovery of a 50 volt power unit. We had to take the exchange, PA and clocks off to do the work on the battery. Ian and Paul can now go on and finish the work on the 10+50 without any further assistance.

8 August : Charles and I spent most of the day getting the bottom of the office door cut off and a step installed ready for carpet laying. Now we must tidy the office and get things off the floor next week. Martin fixed the bench light and did some PAT testing. Rick and Ray got the AT5422 tester working again at Parkend and also fitted the cowling back to the main yard loud speaker.

The Fish and Chip DMU at Parkend

8 August : In the evening we took a Telecoms Group ride with our partners on the DMU. Excellent fish and chips were served. Martin and Tony could not join us.

Line Circuit and Uniselector Mechanisms in place for the Lydney Signal Box Exchange

11 August : Ian and Paul spent the morning changing over the museum's 10+50 to the new 24 volt supply. They had also to provide a mains ringer for the switchboard. They fitted a permantly wired handset to the board so that the switchboard now works properly for the first time. The old 50 volt power supply has now been recovered for use by maintenance staff in the office.
I went to Parkend and refitted the 45670 relay set. It worked very well and the transformer has eliminated the hum on that circuit. All Parkend junctions are now free of hum. Our thanks to Chris Hall of the Mid Hants Railway who supplied suitable transformers.

We celebrated a couple of birthdays with birthday cake from Jean on the platform in the sun (Rosie Bradley and myself share the Glorious Twelfth as our birthdays). Ian, Paul and I had lunch at Kaplan's and then went on to fit two strips of line circuits to the Lydney Signal Box rack. The rack is looking rather nice with so much gear now attached to it. However we still have to design and build linefinder and final selector relay sets for the proposed exchange.
Quite a fruitful day.

15 August : Rick, Ray, Charles and I had a team briefing about maintenance schedules and diagram filing arrangements. Rick and Ray then went off to Norchard and Parkend exchanges to get their diagrams sorted. Charles is working with John Metherall on the museum's token machines. Martin sorted some electrical problems but the rain stopped him getting to some. Between times the room was tidied, cleared and cleaned ready for the Thomas weekend coming up.

22 August : Rick, Ray and Peter spent the day sorting their respective diagrams into folders and getting their maintenance forms for each pice of equipment into some sort of shape. This will need further time before the serious job of actually routinely maintaining line plant and telephones gets under way. Martin tested a new welder and did surveys for jobs coming up. I put up a couple of shelves in the office for the computer and printer to sit on. This seemed to make a lot of bench space available. We found that our standby PA amplifier and spare microphones have been stolen. They will not be replaced. Somehow during the day we have collected quite a list of jobs to be done, most of them can only take place when we stop running for the winter.

25 August : Just Paul and I in today. We sorted out the work to be done at Lydney Signal Box for the new exchange and collected up most of the required bits and pieces. We got a backboard up and the AT5422 mounted on it. Nice to be able to stay out of the rain today.

29 August : Only Martin and Ray in today. Various items were delivered to the office for Martin to check and PAT test. Ray had a go at a line finder not going rotary and busied out by John Metheral. Then Ray went to Parkend and made a start on the routine switch maintenance. A relatively quiet day. (ps. An ex BT UAX 13 and 14 mtce. engineer appeared in the exchange, he was awestruck and his wife had great difficulty in getting him out to catch the train, he said he would rather spend the day in the exchange!)

September 2012

5 September : Rick, Martin, Peter and Ray in today. Martin was kept busy with lighting issues, Rick spent some time on DP3A. Peter and Ray got going on routine phone mtce. and spent some time with Rick discussing the forms so that they would be consistent over the whole site. We sorted out a new phone for the shop to replace the red one but before it could be fitted, at five to three the "John's away demon" struck by a phone call from the office to tell us the microwave in the buffet was not working. Martin could not be found so Peter and Ray went and found the mains had tripped out on one of the circuits. OK after resetting.

12 September : Rick,Martin, Peter, Charles and Ray in. Rick spent the day on DP 3A. Martin and Charles changed bulbs at the town station and Norchard. Charles went to work on the token machine and had the bent token drilled out and it now works. Peter and Ray changed the shop red phone and did a few more routine instrument checks. We also sorted out the red handset on the 10 plus 50 which had the wires to the 4t receiver pressed against the receiver and shorting.

Line Finder and Final Selector relay sets for the Lydney Signal Box Exchange

15 September : The components for the linefinder and final selector relay sets have been located and mounted onto the relay set bases. However wiring them is still a big job.
Paul and I spent the day at Lydney Signal Box rewiring the power to all the relay set positions. We found out how to solder power connections with a 50 volt iron with the 50 volt power disconnected - quickly before the iron goes cold! During the day the diesels were running back and forth on a diesel gala and we had the extra interest of a Hastings DEMU coming in off the main line. A good day's work.

19 September 2012 : Rick, Ray, Charles and I were in. Rick spent the day looking at maintenance procedures and records. We looked at the ongoing job of reterminating DP3A on the platform and think that it is probably best to fit a new backboard and terminal strips and then move the cables over one at a time shifting jumpers as required. An awkward job but very necessary as the DP is in an awful state. Ray went off to do maintenance work at Parkend and Charles went back to sorting the museum's token machine display. I shifted the switches on the new museum signal display to the back of the display board so that the public would be less likely to alter the display. I also completed a couple of minor jobs as well.

This is our main DP3A on the platform at Norchard

26 September 2012 : This is our main DP on the Norchard platform. The rain has got in through a leaky roof and corroded many terminal blocks. We now have finally got a real plan for getting the DP into shape.

Charles, Rick, Peter and I were in. Charles is continuing with work on the museum's token machines. Rick and Peter are still sorting out the maintenance paperwork. I went to Lydney Signal Box to discuss work with our director. The need for a line to the S and T container is getting urgent. S and T have agreed to lay the required duct. We are asked to check that the token circuit to Parkend is still there, however due to the very heavy rain, we gave that a miss for today. We also found that S and T think that the ultimate number of SPTs required at Parkend might be as high as eight to ten if we extend the railway beyond Fancy Road. Back to the drawing board as we thought five SPTs would be plenty. After lunch Rick moved a BT phone in the booking office and provided an extra socket on a BT line in the shop. I gave Charles a look round Norchard signal box to show him the concentrator in particular. We were glad to leave in the rain.

October 2012

3 October : Martin, Rick, Ray, Peter and I were in. Martin was getting on with PAT testing and Rick and Peter got on with making up the terminal strips for the renewal of DP3A. Ray and I went to Parkend to put the token pair through to the ground frame DP. While we were there we noticed the the D phone mike battery had been broken away from the terminal strip. After lunch we took new batteries for the D phone to Parkend and got them connected up.
A failed Gladys being pushed into Parkend

It had been a bad day for the railway. The first diesel had failed at the town crossing and had been replaced by Gladys the 08. When going back to Parkend to fit the batteries we saw Gladys stopped at Whitecroft with someone on top of the loco. When the train failed to appear at Parkend we made enquiries on behalf of the waiting passengers to find that it would be some time before Charlie, our other 08, could rescue the train. We opened the waiting room so that our passengers could at least get out of the rain and kept them informed about the train's progress. Eventually Gladys appeared being pushed by Charlie and the train. Gladys was abandoned at Parkend and Charlie did his best to get our passengers back on track.

4 October : The Lydney Signal Box exchange proposals have been considerably updated to show the latest circuit diagrams. The relay sets involved have now had all the relays etc mounted and await wiring and testing.

6 October : Just Paul and myself at work at Lydney Signal Box on the new exchange wiring. We had a good day getting most of the wiring between the line circuits and the multiple completed.

7 October : I started to record yesterday's work only to realise that I had committed a classic gaffe. I had read a strip connection layout from the wrong side. All the wiring we completed has to be reversed somewhere. Sorry Paul. It will be better by the time you get back from your holiday.
Sluice and rapids on the River Lyd just outside Norchard

Jean and I took hot dogs along to the line clearance party. I never realised that these sluices and rapids are within 100 metres of Norchard along the path that runs northwards.

10 October : Martin, Charles and I went to Parkend to check on the state of the huts which we thought was pretty poor for the switch on of an electricity supply. Rick and Peter went back to the repair of DP3A. Ray checked the new mikes and leads to find that one of the new leads had a dis leg. He repaired it, so that now we should not be caught out on Santa day with a faulty mike or extension lead.
The new carpet in our officed

I came across a carpet fitter from Apollo Carpets working in the autocoach. He agreed to lay our carpet in the telecoms hut. We set to and cleared the hut out and the carpet was laid during the afternoon. We got a lot of gear moved to the caboosh and we are now nearly tidy. The room looks so much better.

17 October : Rick continued work on DP3A and later joined Ray and Peter who fitted an external bell at Whitecroft. Tony Smith (our electrical contractor) came in and with Martin, Charles and myself we had a hunt for the duct laid in the car park for car park lights. Most of the duct was too hidden to find so next Wednesday we are expecting a digging gang to start on trenches to find the line of the duct. We also looked at the other electrical jobs coming up at Norchard. Not a very productive day but at least we have an idea of where we are heading on the electrical side. I went to Lydney Signal Box and sprayed the proposed exchange uniselectors with a degreasing agent in the hope that in a week's time, the wipers may be properly contacting the bank contacts.

Vandalised cabinet at St Mary's Halt

20 October : I was called to look at vandalism at DP3M at St Mary's. The door had been forced off and the lock broken away and the cable from Norchard had had the spare wires all cut off. I met Peter at Norchard and we collected wood and tools and went back to repair the cabinet. The cable will need to be sorted at a later date. The vandals found that the cable was armoured and then seemed to give up. The working pairs had not been touched strangely enough. We had tea when we got back and then left for a late lunch.

24 October : Martin and Charles took charge of the digging party to find the electricity duct around the car park. They found the duct and we expect the diggers to return over the weekend to uncover and straighten more of the flexible duct in readiness for cabling and lamp post erection. Rick and Peter went to DP3M at St Mary's and started on a proper cabinet repair. They managed to fix the cable and get the visible length under ground. Paul and I went to Lydney Signal Box to clean the uniselector banks, give the unis a good run and tap out the wiring to them. We found some errors, both in diagram preparation and in execution so in the end it was a very profitable day all round.

27 October : Just Paul and Ian in today. They got on with fitting a second set of protectors to the Lydney Signal box concentrator rack, earthing the metalwork for the line circuits and uniselector frame, and providing battery to the uniselector magnets.

30 October : Ray went in for a couple of hours. He checked the spare master clock ( 0.5 secs gain per week over 8 weeks) and reset its slave clock to GMT. He also fitted a replacement rack test tele extn 301 at Parkend and replaced the mike on extn 331 and updated the records folder.

31 October 2012 : Ray and Paul spent the day renovating the clock in the hallway and moving the clock in the office. Rick and Peter finished repairing the cabinet at DP3M and then got back to tidying DP3A, a long tedious job. Charles, Martin and Tony Smith went to look at the various jobs needed electrically at Parkend. The ground frame cable still cannot be turned on. We will take on the extra outside lights and the light in the goods shed, in house. Martin and Charles came back to fit the new museum light. I had a go at two temperamental night storage heaters and hopefully have got them sorted. I also put up pictures of the telecoms group at work in our office window for the public to peruse. At least they brighten up the front of the office.

November 2012

2 November : I went in to survey the job to extend the common services from Parkend exchange to the signal box in readiness for the provision of a concentrator. The job will include the provision of Norchard time clocks for the signal box and station building.

3 November : Ian, Paul and I attended the THG Swapmeet at Milton Keynes in the hope of locating some goodies.

Ian Stubbs at his table General view of the swapmeet at the Bradville Hall, near Milton Keynes

I had a good day finding five 4000 type selectors for use in the proposed Lydney Junction exchange. I also found a good supply of telephone 300 earpieces and mouthpieces for our demonstration phones, necessary as children tend to break the handsets by dropping them.

7 November : Ray and Peter finished off the renovation of cabinet 3M at St Mary's and then completed the retermination of DP3D in the station master's office onto a new block. Charles, Martin and Tony M went to Parkend to get on with the work providing additional external lighting and the replacement of the security light. I kept in touch with the digging gang excavating the car park duct and connected the museum computer to the internet. After lunch Ray, Peter and I went to Parkend to sort out the work needed to get common services to the proposed concentrator in the signal box. During the day we agreed to split the electrical and telecoms work to some degree with Charles being nominated as Electrical Manager.

14 November : Martin and Charles moved a light switch in the waiting room and restored electricity to the Pooley wagon after the fridge gave up its struggle of many years and tripped the mains. They also looked at a water heater which turned out to be lacking water and not electricity. Peter continued with the stores and made up several junction boxes out of bits of old ones. Paul and Ray took all the bits for the Parkend common services job to Parkend where they are all in one plastic bag. Paul and Ray then sorted out the old Norchard clock wiring and now have jumpers in place ready for a change over to the spare master clock. They checked the loop and reverse pulses to the IDF blocks from the new relay set and found the reverse pulses to be missing. This was due to a small metal filing on the C relay pole face which stood to attention when the coil was energised and prevented the armature from operating. An interesting day.

17 November : Paul and I spent the day installing a red pay on answer coinbox in the museum for the kids to use. We hope they will be able to hear a Santa message on it. However we had to allocate an 800 number as it will be a demo phone and be connected as a coin box to linefinder level 8. Our last two level 8 outlets were faulty. It took quite a bit of tracking down but in the end we found two wires from the bank had been disconnected on the bank tag strip. Putting them back made everything fine. Now we wonder why anyone would have done such a thing. Still we now have an appreciation of how it is all wired together.

The Wednesday Gang : John Bathgate, Martin Lunn, Charles Bristow, Peter Medcalf, Rick Gillingham, Tony Macey, Ray Willey

21 November : A day when everything around us was flooded after a night of heavy rain. However we all managed to get into the railway. As we were all there together for once, Paul took a picture of the Wednesday gang.

Paul and Ray had a good day. They got the clocks changed over to the new equipment and all set to the correct time. Recovery and repositioning of the old master clock can now take place. Rick got down to overhauling a misbehaving line finder. Charles and Tony Smith had a good look round the electrical work coming up. Charles then worked on a faulty bench circular saw. Martin and Tony Macey tried to cable up an antique lamp in the museum only to find that they would need to earth bond all the metal components. John Metherall did not want this. The job was abandoned and they fitted a light to a display cabinet. Peter carried on with the reorganisation of the caboosh. I went to Lydney signal box to collect a relay set for modification and to Parkend to find as many meters as I could. We intend to measure the traffic on all of our junctions.

28 November : We had a mixed day at the railway. Martin and Tony helped the contractor install two of the four lengths of car park cabling. We are still trying to find the duct for the remaing two lengths. Rick, Ray and Peter tried to provide a further phone on our signal box BT line but in the end we had too much REN on the line and we had ring trip. We have decided that we must disconnect something to bring the line within limits and that something has to be the chairman's line. I mounted my picture frame so that visitors can be treated to a slide show of telecom and railway activities. It looks pretty good in the museum. Later it took four of us nearly an hour to untangle a string of Christmas lights for installation in the shop. Four Sparks carrying one string of fairy lights across the yard tickled everyone in view. Lynne has threatened us with another tangle next week.

December 2012

1 December : Paul and Ian recovered the old clock apparatus from the exchange wall and got the old clock refixed in its new position. It still needs to be wired and set up and the records for the new clock arrangement prepared. Peter and I held an inventory of the apparatus on our BT lines. We may well be able to give most of the facilities required from our existing lines. Bob Bramwell's digging gang have found the car park duct at all the relevant places and we can now pull in lamp post cables with little trouble.

5 December : Quite a busy day. Martin, Tony and Charles went off to Parkend to provide a couple of external lamps over the platform. Paul got on with getting the second master clock wired up and running. Rick and Peter provided an answer machine on 811 for use as a Santa line for the kids to ring in to. I fitted a 5 CD auto changer on the PA for music over Christmas and beyond. During the day we had a long discussion about taking all BT lines and CAT5 circuits via a patch panel in the office. We do not have to do this now but should we be required to alter further BT lines or CAT5 circuits, it would be the sensible thing to do. For now it's just a question of designing the system and pricing the stores as it would be a job too far for our telephone fund. Out in the car park, Adam the contractor got all the cabling in and got two lamp posts erected. They look rather nice.

The blackboard is just right for exploring ideas

8 December : Peter, Paul, Ian and I came in. We spent most of the day discussing how to handle the BT lines that come on to our site. They are often extended to new sockets around the site and things have got out of hand with too many master sockets around the site served by just a two wire circuit and a further master socket.
We have decided to start on a plan to get all lines back to a suitable standard. To this end we are going to install a new krone Master Overlay Point (The MOP) in our exchange room. The 20 pair going to DP15 will be swung from the MDF onto the MOP and the box at DP15 will be replaced by a krone box to become Overlay Point 1 (OP1). The three UAX13 lines in the DP will be rerouted via DP14, so we will again be reunited with the loft as we shift the cabling. Five master sockets will be located in the new office adjacent to the BT DP and will be brought into use as we move the BT masters back from their present positions. This will retain the plug facility that enables our operational staff to determine whether a BT line fault is our responsibility or BT's. The BT lines will be forwarded to the MOP, crossconnected as required back along the 20 pair to OP1 and office sockets or via a tie cable to the MDF and our on site network. Simple!!!!

The clock 70A

We also managed to move the two exchange clocks to a new position to make way for the proposed MOP. Ian fitted the clock 70A to the museum wall and cabled it back to the clock distribution point. He also enjoyed a spell of window cleaning so that the view of our UAX from the museum is now much improved.
A rather nice lunch was provided by Jean to break up the day.

12 December : Party day for the group. We joined with the 9681/gardener group to hold a lunch party in the Severn and Wye room. Twenty five of us attended along with our respective partners or friends. We have Jean to thank for her excellent spread.
By the way, we also heard that the car park lights are finally operational. It's a job that started over ten years ago, before I joined the railway.

15 December : Ian, Peter, Paul and I attended. We had expected to do some cabling in the loft but of course it's a Santa day so we had to stay out of the way in the exchange. We reorganised the walls so that we could fit a four feet by three backboard for the proposed BT lines rearrangement. It does tidy the exchange up quite a bit. Otherwise a quiet day except that at four thirty we had a complaint from the workshop that three lights were not working. We have to call in the contractor to do that job due to the height problems.

16 December : During the afternoon I was called to the railway as "the phones are off". I went into the exchange to the smell of cooking windings. It was a group selector A relay being held by a full earth on the negative wire. Rack A1 was dead. I traced the earth to a peg incorrectly inserted in points 1 and 2 on control set 2 rather than points 7 and 8. The rack had been working on set 1 until it locked up for some reason, then the rack ceased to operate. At least it was fairly easy to find once all the covers were off and the linefinder diagram had been unfurled.

The new krone Main Overlay Point (MOP) for our BT line distribution now fitted to the new backboard

19 December : A very wet day at the railway. Martin and Charles did a bit of PAT testing and some minor electrical repairs. I cleared up some of the old clock wiring, though there are still jumpers to shift on the IDF. Peter and Ray got the MOP on the wall and the MDF tie cable terminated onto the MOP.

This should be our last visit to the railway this year. We next meet on January 2nd when we will inaugurate the new tea urn.

20 December : The new clock relay set and arrangements have been added to the website.

23 December : It's good to see Chris Hall's Mid Hants Railway Telecoms Website back on the net.

At the start of the year we came up with some hopes for 2012. Overall we did not do too well ie :

1) Finally get the Asterisk computer up and running on the internet and get some home phones connected to the internal phone system. Well, sort of OK so long as the home user does not have a BT homehub.

2) Complete the replacement of the PA system at Norchard. Completed and the PA is now in good condition.

3) Fit the ex-PA rack in the office to enable a 50 volt supply to be available for maintenance purposes. Not done as we scrapped the rack instead.

4) Introduce a recorded preventative maintenance system for all apparatus to bring us into compliance with the latest IRSE Guidelines. We have the documentation ready to go.

5) Update the safety and risk features of all lineside apparatus. Not tackled. Other things seemed to take precedence, and the weather was awful in any case. Must do better.

6) Reintroduce the training programme for the benefit of our new colleagues and for revision for our established staff. Mostly not done on a formal basis, even though a lot of the training material has been prepared.

7) Design and build a level 456 relay set to give Asterisk and Lydney Junction access at Parkend. Completed and working satisfactorily.

8) Design and start the build of a 22 line exchange at Lydney Junction. Get one final selector and associated junction into use to prove the concept. Much of the work has been completed but testing has not started.

We hope for better weather next year so that we can get out onto the lineside to bring our documentation up to date.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers and thank you for keeping in touch.

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